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Rats in my coop and stealing my eggs

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by LilyD, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2011
    Bristol, VT
    Okay so here's the problem. I haven't had a problem during the summer with anything but squirrels but now that the temps are way down below 0 I have a bunch of rats that have moved from the woods behind my house into my barn and are living in the room where I store my horse hay. It is hard if not impossible to get at them but I do often see them when I go out. I talked to the guy at the feed store and he suggested that I put out rat bait but switch the brand and the look of the bait once a week so that they don't get used to what it looks like and associate it with getting sick or dying. That worked for a total of 3 rats that I found inside the coop dead but other than that I am still seeing them. Tonight I went into the coop and there was one on the side of the water bucket drinking. I actually tried to grab it by the tail as it ran away but it made it to the other side of the barn and into the hay before I could get him. I put the bait right where I saw him walking. We also set some snap traps but I can't put them in the coop with the chickens because I don't want to hurt them with it so we have to put them in the hay room instead and where we can put them might not be where they go. The worst possible thing is that since I saw the rats for the first time I have been getting at max 3 eggs from 19 hens. I am pretty sure they are taking the eggs and eating them during the day while I am at work.

    Any suggestions for how to help get rid of them quickly without hurting my hens in the process?
     
  2. TheSpeckledRoo

    TheSpeckledRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is it possible to lock your hens in the barn for a few days? Chickens LOOOOOVVVEEEE mice and rats. They truly are like velosaraptors. It is a more natural way of taking care of the problem. I would take out all the poison out for a week before trying this though. You don't want your girls eating any poisoned rats.
     
  3. Coupe

    Coupe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have one rat burrowing around my coop and would like to trap it . So i would love to hear some tips. Its been making holes in the pen and around the coop.
     
  4. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2011
    Bristol, VT
    I have seen my sisters chickens kill mice before but not rats. My chickens won't even kill the mice. Not sure maybe I got the breeds that are too mellow to be velociraptors. I have two coops one is stand alone with a wood floor. I shut them in it at night since it is below 0 at night and let them out during the day to roam about or at least get fresh air since we have 2 ft of snow outside and they don't really like to go out in it.

    That coop I usually get 2 or 3 eggs first thing in the morning and then none the rest of the day while the door is open. The other coop is inside my large barn. It is half of my large 30 by 30 hay room and is separated from my hay room by fencing. They have one door to the inside of the barn where the tractors and equipment are and another that leads to a ramp to outside where they free range when there is no snow. The rats are living in the hay room. I can tell because it smells strongly of rodent pee in there. They go into the coop during the night and during the day and will steal fermented food, eggs and generally harass the chickens.

    When I went to feed tonight at 3:00 pm there was a rat on the side of the water bucket drinking water. The chickens didn't touch it at all. When I walked in he ran off.

    I am using rat poison but only in areas I can reach in the hay room and the chickens can't. I also set 3 rat traps with peanut butter tonight but can't really get these behind the hay so have no real way to put them where the rats really are since they are behind and under the hay.
     
  5. SouthernHoney

    SouthernHoney Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2012
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    ME TOO!!!!

    I have 8 hens and I've had 1 egg since July!
    I, at first, thought that it was stress... then heat... then molting...then a lack sunlight. I was ready to just give up and then last night I went out for something and decided to check on tmy hens while I was out there and I saw a rat run away from the cage right past me.

    My chickens eat mice (mouse football) but I'm thinking that this pudgy rat was too big for them to mess with.


    I just cant figure out how the rat would get the egg, out of the nest box, without breaking it. there is absolutly no trace of the eggs.
     
  6. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bristol, VT
    We set traps all around each coop and caught them 5 to 10 at a time for a while. We also used rat bait sticks in places I was sure that the chickens couldn't get to because it was too tiny for them. Now occasionally I will still see mice but they are all really tiny and the rats are all gone. I think they came in on the bales of hay that I ordered last winter. This year seems to be going much better. Hopefully it will keep on that way. I don't know if the rats roll the eggs or not or if they just stress out the chickens and they stop laying but I had around 25 chickens last year and I was getting only 3 to 4 eggs a day at max. This year I am getting between 10 and 18 eggs a day with 30 chickens of which I think 9 are still too young to lay yet on a regular basis and some (7 or so) are over 3 years so probably aren't laying on a regular basis anymore but just off and on.

    Good luck I hope your rats are as easy to control as the ones we had glad it only took one season.
     
  7. Vamvakas

    Vamvakas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    North Branford, CT
    I also have rats in the coop since it's getting cooler. I tried to use poison pellets in the box around the coop but some animal keeps on eating it cause I find the box about 5 feet away from where I placed it and flipped over..

    I would place the box in the coop but I'm to scared that somehow few pellets would come out the box or a rat would drop pellets on the ground and my chickens will eat it in the morning. [​IMG]
     
  8. bellschick

    bellschick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put hay in my nests so I didnt notice at first but when I cleaned out the nest the rats had chewed a perfect hole for the egg to fall underneath the nest box and the hay covered it mostly up so I was none the wiser. Well I gave the rats an egg allright...nice yummy piece of warfarin!!!!! Havent seen any rats for awhile.
     
  9. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    This works the best for me. Each night pick up all the food and lock it up including cleaning up the spilt food. Then get a few bait traps and buy the Tomcat chunks that go on a spike inside. Get the dark green ones not the light green. I went thru a whole bucket of light greens before I relized they didn't work.

    What I found the first time was a few dead rats but the abundance ran off to die. I would make my rounds every morning to look for dead bodies. The chickens didn't zero in on them. I would even check, go in the house for a few hours, and come back out and find another one. After a week I didn't find anymore. I still leave the traps baited. I saw one tonight. It means lock the food up and pressure them into eating the bait. I think I may change my routine and lock up the food earlier like late afternoon. The important thing is to not have any access to food other than the bait. They can nibble on it but can't take it. I've tried everything else.
     
  10. bellschick

    bellschick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I get this poison from a local store called chicks (thats that guys name) its called just one bite. That stuff works VERY well for me. We have pigs and sheep and live right by a small stream (creek) so its perfect living conditions for rats and mice so I just keep fighting..
     

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